All the compositions on Between Loves, my debut recording for the ZOHO label, were composed during my first years in this country. The title subject "Between Loves" of this CD is still a current theme in my music and my life, which is always an issue for a person with an immigration background like myself - in my case, from Uruguay to New York.
Between loves - it's love for the music, the kind that touches us in a very deep place in our souls. It is an addictive force beyond our understanding that makes one travel cross the whole world in its pursuit. What is that strong and inescapable energy that makes one pursue this love? Yet, other loves are never left behind. This is what is present in each and every single one of these tunes.
It is not music from the North or South, nor from "here" or "there". It is in between, between loves.
Hurry is an arrangement of a popular song composed by Hugo Fattoruso, a great Uruguayan musician who composed hundreds of really beautiful tunes.
When I was about to start writing this arrangement, I contacted the composer to ask him for the lead sheet of the tune, to have a better idea of what was he thinking about when writing it, as all my references up to that moment were recordings. I realized that the melody written on the lead sheet differed a lot from the live versions which I had being hearing. On his live recordings, he was singing much richer rhythms. So I decided to transcribe these rhythms and they became the main characteristic of my arrangement. The combined horns play these complex rhythms, unlocking the tune and making it flow in a more magical and fresher way, much as the live versions of this tune that I heard from Hugo Fattoruso.
Woman Dreaming of Escape was inspired by the great Argentine Tango pianist and composer Osvaldo Pugliese, Stravinsky’s music - mainly the first and third of his “periods” - and by the works of Catalan surrealist painter Joan Miro. Some years ago, I wrote this extended piece as a final project for a music class, and my goal was to write a sort of abstract tango. At the same time life was going by, many things were happening in my life…
I had the opportunity to spend time in Barcelona as a student ambassador and in my free time, I escaped to see the works of Gaudi, Picasso, Dali and Miro. Miro had the deepest impact on me. I felt I was witnessing his whole evolution. I spent a whole day in his museum, overcome with emotion, and it was there that I discovered his painting: “Woman Dreaming of Escape.”
The original arrangement was written for an 11-piece band. We recorded it with a big band a couple of years ago, and now it feels great to have the opportunity to “sing” it in my own voice on this new album.
I was inspired to write Zamba for Jose Gervasio by those folk songs that we used to sing in school, which were full of fantastic images from the countryside. My classmates and I were born and raised in the city, and for us these images were a fantasy; a fantastic place full of kapok flowers, singing birds, and sometimes national heroes. Everyone in my family was from the city except for my grandfather, the only one who knew all these songs from his childhood. He used to ask my sisters and I to sing them over and over and, of course, we were never tired of singing them.
Pericon Raro ("Weird Pericon") is the first movement of a suite in progress written for 11-piece band based on the Pericon Nacional: “Piezas varias sobre un Pericon Raro”. The Pericon Nacional is a traditional folk dance from Uruguay and Argentina, danced a lot in schools when one is a kid. It is an evolution of the English quadrille (county dance) which arrived to the Rio de la Plata - the region where both capitals of Uruguay and Argentina are located - during the 18th century.
Florencia Gonzalez. Photo by Leo Barrizoni.
The One Who Never Was is my tribute to the great saxophone player John Coltrane. There is a primitive pureness in his music which always fascinated me, a similar tribal sense I also find in the sound of the drums of my country, Uruguay. That rustic sound in Coltrane's music is, in my opinion, its main beauty. It's like those baroque churches in South and Central America, where the highly sophisticated baroque elements mix with that rusticity coming from the local artisans who built them. This piece is a candombe with a very rich harmony, based on the Coltrane progressions, the ones he used on tunes such as “Countdown” or “Giant Steps”. The structure of “The One Who Never Was” may be a little more complex, as it also switches into major and minor modes.
Chacarera for Greg was originally written for a 20-piece big band, and dedicated to Greg Hopkins, my first composition teacher at Berklee College of Music. I learned a lot from him. The most important thing he taught me is that, as composers, we need to know how to analyze music, to be able to learn from thousands of years of amazing pieces that surround us.
In this piece, I intended to express the spirit of the country dances; not only the Chacarera, but also the Malambo and other dances in which dancers stomp their feet, and where people cheer them along by clapping their hands. The rhythm is pretty complex, based on a 2 against 3. The piece tries to recreate this tension among the layers of contrasting rhythms not only on the rhythm section, but also on the wind instruments. The music is descriptive, where the brass steps in for the stamping solos of the male dancers.
Between Loves is the tune which defines the album. It is based on a harmonic motive: a pair of chords. Always two chords, two poles in constant change which evolve into different variations and different contexts; treating them in a way as a melodic motive. Two poles, that’s the idea of this album, and one torn between these two loves. Everything coexists, but in an unstable balance.
I dedicate this album to my grandparents: Chichi, Abueladora, Jacintito and Tata; who made my childhood such a fantastic place.
All compositions/arrangements by Florencia Gonzalez except # 1 composed by Hugo Fattoruso and arranged by Florencia Gonzalez. Publishers : # 1: Nandu Music, ASCAP. # 2 - 7: Ana Florencia Gonzalez Delgado, ASCAP. Recorded at Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, NY in 2013. Produced by Florencia Gonzalez. Engineered at Bunker Studios by Aaron Nevezie. Master engineered at Sterling Sound Studios by Randy Merrill. Photography by Leo Barizzoni. Package design by Jack Frisch. Executive producer: Joachim "Jochen" Becker.